HL Deb 29 July 1942 vol 124 cc55-7

My Lords, I beg to move that Standing Order No. XV be considered in order to its being suspended for the purpose of dispensing with the reading of the Patent of the Earl Kitchener. Your Lordships will require a few words of explanation about this unusual Motion which in special circumstances I am moving. It is provided, in effect, by Standing Order No. XIV that every Peer of the Realm claiming to be a member of this House by virtue of a special limitation in remainder, and not claiming by descent, shall be introduced with the ceremonial of supporters. This, as your Lordships will see, is a different procedure from that which is adopted in the ordinary case of the holder of a hereditary Peerage by descent, when the new Peer, as your Lordships know well, after his title has been investigated in the Crown Office, presents himself here at the Table with his Writ of Summons and signs the Roll without being introduced.

But Standing Order No. XV of this House provides that, upon the introduction of any Peer of the United Kingdom into the House, the Patent by which his Peerage shall have been granted shall, after having been read, be entered verbatim upon the Journals of the House as well as the Writ of Summons. It is those words of that Standing Order, "after having been read," to which I wish to draw attention. That is the procedure with which your Lordships are familiar in the case where a newly-created Peer is introduced and takes his seat. As your Lordships recall, his Patent is read as well as his Writ of Summons. The Earl Kitchener desires to be introduced and to take his seat to-day, and, since his claim arises by virtue of a special limitation in remainder, Standing Order No. XV would require the Patent granted to the late Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener to be read at the Table. The Patent is a document of over 3,000 words. The reading of it would, I suppose, easily occupy half an hour. The document consists largely of recitals and, except to those specially interested in genealogical formulae, is not without a certain tedious repetition of phrases. I have formed the opinion that, in the very exceptional circumstances arising out of the war, which makes it important to economize time and to devote ourselves to essential business, it would probably be the view of your Lordships that the reading of this lengthy Patent should on this occasion be dispensed with. Of course, it will be entered in full upon the Journals of the House, as the Standing Order requires, together with the Writ of Summons.

The object of my Motion, therefore, is to secure from your Lordships this dispensation, but your Lordships would probably wish from me instead a very short statement as to the limitations contained in the original grant of forty years ago to the Field-Marshal. If I may venture a summary of 3,000 words, I would say that Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener who, as we know, was unmarried, received the Patent of Viscounty and the Earldom, and the course of descent prescribed was, first, to the heirs male of his body, with remainder, in default of male issue, to each successive daughter and her heirs male, and, in default of both male and female issue, then to the elder brother of the Field-Marshal, Colonel Henry Elliott Chevalier Kitchener and the heirs male of his body, and, on the death of Colonel Kitchener, and in default of heirs male of his body, then to the heirs male of Sir Frederick Walter Kitchener, a younger brother of the Field-Marshal, who was then already dead. In the events which have happened, as I have said, the first Earl died without ever having been married. Colonel Kitchener survived his brother, and succeeded to the Earldom, but never proved his claim or sat in this House. Colonel Kitchener's eldest son predeceased his father, and the present claimant, Henry Herbert Kitchener, is the eldest son of that eldest son. There cannot be the slightest doubt that he is entitled to these dignities, and to be introduced and take his seat in the House.

I have thus, my Lords, stated to your Lordships in a few sentences what is set out by a more ample and extensive use of language in the Patent, and this, I hope, will justify the saving of time which the adoption of my Motion will secure. I would add this one thing. Our procedure in these matters is entirely governed by the decision of your Lordships' House either as to adopting or applying a Standing Order or as to dispensing pro hac vice with one of its provisions, and the claim of the new Peer arises independently of the Standing Orders under the terms of the Patent granted to the Field-Marshal forty years ago. At the same time I have thought it proper to inform His Majesty of the course which, for convenience, I was proposing that the House should take, and His Majesty has been graciously pleased to indicate that he appreciates the reasons for the course proposed. I beg to move.

Moved, That Standing Order No. XV be considered in order to its being suspended for the purpose of dispensing with the reading of the Patent of the Earl Kitchener.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and ordered accordingly.

Then Henry Herbert Kitchener, Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome in the County of Kent, having succeeded to the dignity of Earl Kitchener on the death of his grandfather, Herbert Elliott Chevalier, Earl Kitchener, by virtue of the Special Remainder contained in the Patent bearing date the 27th day of July in the fifth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Fifth, was (in the usual manner) introduced.

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed.

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